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EXCLUSIVE: CCGs plans ‘abandoned’

EXCLUSIVE: CCGs plans ‘abandoned’


Government meddling is affecting clinical commissioners, just over two weeks into the reforms’ implementation.

Leaders from Lewisham CCG, East Surrey CCG, Warrington CCG and the King’s Fund expressed their concerns to The Commissioning Review.

Financial problems at South London Healthcare Trust are continuing to affect commissioning in Lewisham.

Dr Helen Tattersfield, clinical chair said: “Almost every plan we had in place will have to be rethought or abandoned all together because of problems at South London Healthcare Trust.

“The pathways we’d set up with five providers will need to be renegotiated, but at the same time, more pressure in the system and inevitable low staff morale is producing long waits in A&E and a general deterioration in service provision.”

In February The Commissioning Review reported that the decision to downgrade Lewisham A&E, which had previously been described as “high performing and financially solvent”, was made without any input from commissioners.

Dr Tattersfield claimed the decision to move services away from the hospital to save money for a neighbouring trust was made by the government alone.


Warrington CCG chair Dr Andrew Davies agreed that commissioning is not as hands-off as he would have hoped,

Dr Davies said: “After going live the assumed autonomy and light touch promised as part of the reforms seem to have evaporated.”

Problems with the rollout of non-emergency number 111 have also caused issues in his CCG.

He said: “There’s no clinical risk as yet and there have only been a few complaints and two incidents flagged. But still, it’s frustrating that our local efforts are being thwarted by a national procurement.”

Professor Chris Ham, chief executive of healthcare research organisation The King’s Fund, said the current system “isn’t the final answer” and that it “won’t survive a change of government”.

“Lots of smaller CCGs that might have to pool – and there are many complex issues to be resolved. Many of the biggest questions are around NHS England.

“We need to give CCGs at least three years so that they can show what they have to deliver, but I’d say in three years the healthcare system is likely to look very different.”

And Dr Joe McGilligan, clinical lead of East Surrey CCG believes that the reforms will also lead to many more hospital trusts closing.

“Towards the end PCTs were still giving support to trusts, but now that support is gone.

“Hospitals will just have to close or merge. And still, there’s this mentality that closing hospitals is fine, as long as it’s not our own.”


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